"Most of my musical and artistic heroes were connected to dope," former Stone Temple Pilots' front man, Scott Weiland, says in the April issue of Esquire. "Everyone from William Burroughs to Keith Richards and Gram Parsons to Bird, all the jazz greats -- if you listen to the fluidity of that music, you can hear heroin in that music."
Apparently, when MTV was playing STP in heavy rotation during the early '90s, we teenaged zombie brats were unaware that we too were hearing drugs. We were listening to a coke-slamming drunk who now admits he felt like Siddhartha achieving enlightenment when he first shot up smack. By the late '90s, Weiland was getting arrested, was kicked out of his band, did stints in rehab, and lately seems to have returned to civilization relatively intact.
His addictions make sense, in retrospect, because while his music was catchy, relentless guitar grunge, his lyrics were borderline indecipherable. Take the opening lines from the ubiquitous 1994 single "Vasoline":
"One time a thing occurred to me/What's real, and what's for sale?/Blew a kiss and tried to take it home/It isn't you, isn't me/Search for things that you can't see/Going blind, out of reach/Somewhere in the Vasoline."
To high schoolers, Vaseline represented lubrication, and lubrication suggested sex, so it was a safe assumption that "Vasoline" was a song about sex, or at least jerking off. (Around the same time, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day sang that "when masturbation's lost its fun/you're fucking lonely," and a generation shuddered at the thought of such a thing actually happening.) We now know that Weiland was "out of reach" because he was mainlining enough blow that he hallucinated giant, menacing phantoms stomping through his house. "There was a period when I was shooting so much cocaine," he says in Esquire, "that I think I broke into another dimension."
Armed with that knowledge, we can take a fresh look at Weiland's music and discover it all revolves around getting high -- and coming down. Album to album, it adds up: "Creep" was about hangovers, "Interstate Love Song" was about addicted friends, and "Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart" was about rehab. At least, that's the running theory.
In the end, grunge's only lyrical certainties are that Nirvana's "Milk It" was about psychobitch Courtney Love and that Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" had to be, with such a suggestive title, about guess what.
Simply "Da Mouse" to those who know and love him, six-foot-six beefcake Eek-a-Mouse scatted his way onto the world reggae stage in the early '80s with the sexed-up smashes "Wa-Do-Dem," "Modelling Queen," and "Every Girl's a Virgin." Like his rodent brother Speedy Gonzalez, whose show was banned from the Cartoon Network in 1999 for stereotypical depictions of drinking, drug use, and womanizing, Eek-Nasty has at various times been banned from mainstream radio for his references to... drinking, drug use, and womanizing. Da Mouse stays typically raunchy on his latest LP, Mouse Gone Wild, which hit the stores last spring. In "Divas," he drops lines like "Halle Berry let me pick your cherry," "Mrs. Clinton, let's book a room at the Hilton" and "Martha Stewart, tell da Mouse what's cookin'." A true ladies' mouse indeed.
Eek-a-Speak for Dummies
To fully eeksperience da Mouse, you gotta understand his loose-jawed, ganja-inspired, nonsense scat. Below are a few eek-isms followed by their English translations.
"Biddy Biddy Beng." Translation: "I frequently enjoy smoking high-grade marijuana."
"Boing Ding Ding." Translation: "I know where we might procure some marijuana cigarettes."
"Zum Galli Oing." Translation: "I dropped my marijuana cigarette underneath your La-Z-Boy."
"Gen Gen Gong." Translation: "Got any Doritos?" -- Makkada Selah
THIS JUST IN: Eek-a-Mouse concert cancelled for April 9 at the Culture Room. Check (www.newtimesbpb.com) for more updates.
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Koala the Wild
It's easy to peg Eric San as a peddler of all things cuddly. The diminutive, chubby-cheeked Canadian DJ goes under the warm 'n' fuzzy moniker Kid Koala and often plays with a rubbery funk-jazz band called Bullfrog. But take a listen to any of his recordings -- including 2000's Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and '03's Some of My Best Friends Are DJs -- and you'll hear just how wonderfully wicked and insanely talented the Kid really is. Better yet, catch him doing a live solo set. Koala can, for example, scratch a saxophone line into a roaring solo, complete with changes in pitch and tempo. His fully musical, totally comical show must be seen to be believed.
Koala isn't just an innovative musician, though -- he's been drawing comics longer than he's been making music. His website (www.kidkoala.com) displays many of his hand-drawn, black-and-white cartoons, which often revolve around lonely robots, jittery ninjas, and disaffected office workers. Koala's masterstroke is 2003's Nufonia Must Fall, a strange and affecting comic book soundtracked by his turntable-based album of the same name. Pen, paper, needle, and vinyl have rarely come together so artfully. -- Jonathan Zwickel
Kid Koala performs at 11 p.m. Thursday, April 7, at the District, 35 NE 40th St., Miami. Tickets cost $10. Call 305-576-7242.